Nena Arias | May 8, 2023
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.”
It is not hard to see why hope is quickly fading from the hearts of many people and there is fear creeping in for what the future holds for all of us. The world is in turmoil, and we all know it.
For believers, our only hope is to rely on the promises of our heavenly father even in the midst of suffering. If you read the Book of Jeremiah, you will see that the verse quoted above (Jeremiah 29:11) was given to the people of Judah when they are being warned of impending captivity for them by the Babylonians, who will come and exile them from their nation for seventy years because of their sin. The suffering and bondage were going to be so severe, and they were going to long to come back home but God told them it would be for seventy years so they may as well settle down. Here is what God said through Jeremiah, the prophet:
Jeremiah 29: 5-11 “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord. For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”
This is our God. He always gives hope for redemption in spite of the suffering he must allow to happen because of our sin. He knows that without hope, anyone will despair of the future.
God promises hope in the midst of suffering. You might be struggling with something and wondering, ‘why is God allowing this to happen to me and when will it end?’ Your hope of deliverance may be waning. But get to know God. Sometimes he will perform miracles in an instant and other times he allows the trials to prolong to help us grow stronger faith and steadfastness in our commitment to him.
God is not surprised by anything. He knows it all, the past, present and future, and he has made plans for all of it according to his will and purpose. God knows we will make mistakes and fail at times, but God declares that he still has good things in store for those who love Him.
Struggles should never surprise a true believer. We are told to expect them in our earthly journey because it is in the trials of our faith that we grow. Our growth will always include that we may help others along the way that are also in need of the strength we have acquired from God through our own testing yet have found God to be faithful.
Our first reaction is for suffering to end. We want immediate relief, but we should always keep in mind that God knows best and if he prolongs suffering in our lives is for a higher and more glorious purpose.
We have definitely entered into hard times, and we are also being asked to persevere through difficult times and not lose hope because it’s part of God’s plan to help us grow in our times. As other see God in us it will enhance his larger plan to help bring all people to Christ.
God does not promise a problem-free life, on the contrary, he says we will go through many tribulations but to take heart because he has overcome for us.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
God keeps this promise to us in the work of Jesus, his son, who brings us peace with God.